Wise 50 Over 50 Award™
Linda Lowther – The Lowther Group
I spent 32 years in the education field, retiring as Assistant Deputy Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development at the age of 55. My husband and I also owned tourism businesses for over 40 years.
I started The Lowther Group at the age of 56 because I wanted to work on projects relevant to my interests and that would improve the lives of children and students, in particular those in a minority language situation in our province. Francophone community groups would look for expertise in research, strategic planning, especially in early learning or in trying to provide programs for newborns, training for educators or preparing requests to funders. With a small Francophone population, there were few places to turn to for consulting help and I was able to carve a niche for myself there.
I also wanted to work on projects related to Tourism. I had considerable experience as an entrepreneur and a volunteer in the industry and felt that I could bring my expertise to entrepreneurs, communities or sectors in the field. And tourism is just plain fun!
Leaving a secure well-paid job was a risk and I worried about whether I could make this new venture work. For me, it was not only about the money, it was about helping small non-profit community groups reach their goals. However, the extra revenue also allowed me to sponsor and support various charities or activities that I could not have supported otherwise.
Within the first year, I was working every day on more projects than I could handle. The down side to that is that it took away my capacity to volunteer. One of the up sides was that I was able to create teams or link to other existing players in the field to spread the work around. Since that time, I have been able to balance which projects are most interesting and valuable to the communities of interest I have while giving me more time to work on volunteer projects in my community. This was the most important goal for me: balancing income, relevancy to my interests and time to do other things.